Injunction will allow nude dancing at bar Good Guys' suit to be heard Jan. 13

November 10, 1993|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,Staff Writer

For the next two months, at least, dancers at Howard County's only strip bar will be able to perform without G-strings once again, the first time such performance has been allowed at the club in more than a year.

That's the latest twist in the continuing battle over nude dancing at Good Guys Bar & Grill on U.S. 1 in North Laurel.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Joseph Young in Baltimore issued an injunction that prevents county and state law enforcement agencies from citing Good Guys for having all-nude dancers and alcohol consumption in the same place.

The injunction lasts at least until Jan. 13, when the court will hear a lawsuit filed last month by the club's operators and two female dancers.

Since June 29, 1992, because of pressure from Howard County Police Chief James Robey, dancers have performed topless only, six feet from patrons. The club's operators say the restrictions have caused them to lose about $20,000 a month.

Chief Robey had threatened to make the club subject to fines of $5,000 for each day it violated the state law prohibiting patrons from drinking alcohol in a public establishment that has nude dancing. No fines ever were levied.

"We live in a society where there's an awful lot of the human body displayed at times," said Ransom Davis, a Baltimore attorney representing the club.

"You can go to Ocean City and see women attired in little more than these women," he said.

By putting restrictions on the dancers, the county and the state are violating the dancers' constitutional rights, Mr. Davis said.

"I'm not fighting for my rights here," said Benham Zanganeh, the club's owner. "I'm fighting for everybody's rights. "This is a business allowed by the Constitution. I'm not saying there are no bad players . . . but it's not about us doing anything wrong. There's nothing we're doing wrong."

In their lawsuit, the club's operators argue that Good Guys is a private club not subject to the state law that prohibits nude dancing and alcohol consumption in the same place.

In addition, the suit charges that Chief Robey and State's Attorney William R. Hymes have violated the rights of the club's owners and its workers by threatening to enforce the law on the private club.

Good Guys does not sell alcohol, but patrons can bring their own.

But the state doesn't want alcohol and nude dancing together.

"The state is not so much concerned about nude dancing," said Kathryn Rowe, an assistant state attorney general. "But in its experience, bad things happen when you have drunken people and nude dancing."

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